New East Digital Archive

Russian lawmaker disrupts LGBT film festival

Russian lawmaker disrupts LGBT film festival
Last year's Side by Side festival (Image: Side by Side LGBT International Film Festival / Facebook)

20 November 2015

Russian lawmaker Vitaly Milonov caused a disturbance at the opening of the Side by Side LGBT film festival yesterday in St Petersburg.

Mr Milonov, who is a member of the Legislative Assembly of St Petersburg, lined up in front of the venue together with some supporters and refused entry to the festival guests.

The lawmaker demanded an end to the event, stating that it was “contrary to Russian law and that that there may be children in the audience”. Police officers, including riot police, were present at the scene.

Mr Milonov is known for his provocative statements regarding LGBT rights and in particular as the author of the St Petersburg law banning “gay propaganda”. He has also proposed the creation of a morality police.

Homosexuality is legal in Russia, but difficulties faced by LGBT individuals and groups have increased in recent years. In 2013, President Putin signed a law that introduced fines for citizens who spread information aimed at minors which may cause a “distorted understanding” that gay and heterosexual relations are “socially equivalent”.

Source: Lenta (in Russian)